Weekender: Manawatu

The famous DB Tui Brewery tower. Photo / Hawke's Bay Today
The famous DB Tui Brewery tower. Photo / Hawke's Bay Today

Where is it? Manawatu is about halfway between Rotorua and Wellington and about an eight-hour drive, or one-hour flight, from Auckland.

What to do? For the lads, probably top of the list for any time spent in Manawatu is a visit to the New Zealand Rugby Museum, which holds the country's most comprehensive collection of rugby memorabilia and some of the world's rarest rugby artefacts. The museum is within easy walking distance of Palmerston North City centre.

And while you're in museum mode, head to Te Manawa, a combined museum, art gallery and interactive science centre. It has ever-changing exhibitions and a great school holiday programme. It's a fantastic place to keep the kids busy.

So is the Esplanade Miniature Railway. For the princely sum of $2, the 2.2km railway will carry you through the picturesque gardens.

And while you're there, keen gardeners will want to stop and smell the flowers in the beautiful Victoria Esplanade.

If outdoors is your thing, head to the lookout at Te Apiti, on Saddle Rd, north of Manawatu Gorge, for great views across the windfarm. Or take to one of the walking tracks through Manawatu Gorge or Ruahine Forest Park.

For those who like good food, wine and some pampering, Manawatu has many options.

Try Feilding Farmers' Market, held every Friday, or head to Waireka Honey Centre - the honey icecream is recommended.

The Herb Farm, near Ashhurst, is exactly that. A working farm where a mother-and-daughter team have also created a hugely successful all-natural skincare company.

And no visit to this part of the country would be complete without a trip along SH2 to Mangatinoka and the iconic Tui Brewery.

Further information: See manawatunz.co.nz.

- Herald on Sunday

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